Category Archives: Belize

Press In to Press On

Belize Day 6 –
Emerging from our shelter we were greeted with an unfamiliar sight.  Trees as large as houses were strewn everywhere. Branches and leaves had been stripped from the trees and scattered on every inch of the ground.  With the welcome morning light, this is what our eyes came upon.  A new world lay before us, somehow similar to the old, but oh so different.
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Some of us got to work cleaning up immediately and others went off to sleep in their beds and make sure their rooms were not torn apart.  We had a lot of things get wet in our room and some leaves had blown in, but besides that not much trouble.  The power being out is inconvenient for a lot of people, but just another effect of the storm. We worked all morning to pile branches and leaves. Sometime during the night, Santi had forgotten to move his vehicle to a safe place and it had been partially crushed by a monstrous tree.  The highlight of the morning was when we were finally able to get the tree off the truck and see that it was dented and had some broken windows but was still usable.
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Our next task was to clear the downed power lines so that we could get them repaired. Along, the way, we repaired the horse pen while many continued to stack the seemingly endless supply of broken branches and downed trees.  By lunch, most were exhausted and I had to sleep for a few hours.  After a quick nap, I got back to work until dinner when I found out that Sarah was apparently suffering from heat exhaustion and lack of sleep.  I know she worked just as hard as, if not harder than, the majority of the guys and never took a break for water or anything.  She was paying for it. Heidi and I went and prayed for her, and we saw an immediate improvement.  We sat around for about an hour around a candle talking and finally turned in for the night.  This has become a rather interesting real mission trip that most people were unprepared for.
Interestingly, a day or two before I left for Belize, God had spoken something to me during my prayer time.  I was praying and preparing spiritually for the trip and got a strange impression.  It was not even what I would call a word, but I felt as if this mission would be more than what we knew or expected and that we may not come back when we planned on it.  I know now that it was God, but then I had this feeling that this trip was going to be bigger than anyone expected and that something was going to happen that no one planned on or prepared for.  Like I said, it was not clear enough for me to tell the leaders, but it was this nagging thought.  I was unsure of what to expect or if I was just being silly, but I made plans in the physical to have everything taken care of in case I did not come back when I thought I would.
Now, I know that was a word from the Lord.  I doubt any of us would have gone if we had known that we would be in the middle of a hurricane.  However, God was preparing me even before the trip for unexpected things that would take place.  Even on my 28th mission trip, God is still giving me adventure and allowing me to experience something I had never done before and may never do again, endure through a hurricane.
Devotion – 
These are difficult times that we all live in.  God has chosen you to live at this time and He gives you everything that you need to succeed.  The more troubling things that are around you, the closer you need to get to Him!
 Press into Him and He will give you the ability to press on no matter the lack of sleep, uncomfortable conditions, pain, or whatever you may be going through.  
Interestingly, God revealed to me something that I never really could have known or been prepared for, experiencing a hurricane, during my time with Him.  I was close to Him even before the hard times came, and because of this, He was able to prepare me for the unknown hard times to come so that I was ready to endure when the time came.  This demonstrates how important it is to press into Him during the easy times as well as the difficult. 
Challenge – 
Today, ask God to help you to come closer to Him than ever before.  As you do this, look for the encouragement, strength, and life that will come as a result of deepening devotion and intimacy with Him!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
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Hurricane a Coming

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 Today, our plans changed with the incoming hurricane.  We still went and delivered school supplies and clothing to the Valley of Peace. We purposefully prayed for each family for healing and life.

I took the team to the first family, where we were greeted by the boy pictured above, and we were able to pray for them and bless them.  It was good to be in this place of ministry once again, but I was sad that we did not get to do more personal ministry.  Even as we finished up giving away the last bags, the rain began to come.  From that point for the rest of the day it has rained with more or less intensity.

Right now, I am sitting in an open air building with a roof surrounded by rain and gushing winds as we wait for the storm to come.  There will not be much sleeping tonight.  We have a safe cement building to head to when things get really bad, but this is a new experience for me.  Never have I been in such a storm, and yet, I still have peace.  In the end, we can do nothing but pray and wait and wait and pray.  No amount of complaining, wishing, or even hard work will cause the storm to pass.  We must wait, trust, and pray for peace and protection.
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At this moment, I realize that this is not any different than any other moment in life.  We can do a lot of things, but in the end, we must wait and pray for God to do the work.  We cannot cause anyone to grow and bear fruit, but we can plant the seed, water, and fertilize.  God brings the fruit, and causes us to be safe during the storm.  Storms come and they may howl and blow and seem strong and mighty, but God controls the storm.  He protects us in the storm and brings about good in the midst of roaring rushing wind all around.
Devotion –
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Storms will come.  They sometimes surround us and cause us to cower under their intensity and might.  Storms are still a mystery because they are something we cannot control.  However, God is our peace in the midst of the storm.  He protects us and guides us into the best way.  God uses the manner in which we handle storms as a witness to who He is.  We must trust that He is mightier than the storm and obey even when it may not make sense.  His love is more powerful than the raw potential of the strongest storm.  He is our peace!  He is our comfort!  He is the one who brings the best out of the worst.
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Challenge –
I challenge you to look at your circumstances in a different way today.  The boss that is unhappy with you, the co-worker that says things that hurt you, the family member that purposefully does things to get on your nerves, look to God and pray for Him to help you respond as He would.  Respond in love, peace, and trust in the worst possible circumstances that God may get the full glory!!!
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Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Step Out & Step Up

Belize Day 4 – 

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Today, we traveled to a nearby orphanage.  It was frustrating to me that it took an absurd amount of time to get there even though it was not very far away. Somehow, stopping at the store and going to the bathroom, we lost about an hour, but that is what happens traveling with a team of 40.  I ended up playing Uno with some kids and talking with them the whole time.
After we got back, we went for a swim in the creek and then prepared for the youth service.
We walked back to Jubilee church where 3 hours of awesomeness took place and there were a lot of people who stepped out where they were not comfortable and shared words and prayed for people.  I prayed as a father over a young girl and God touched her to the point of tears.
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My brother-in-law Bryson got to share his testimony as part of the service and this touched and ministered to so many people.  I could see the walls breaking down as he shared openly and honestly how God raised him from the dead both physically and spiritually and turned his whole life around to a point where I am honored to call him my brother indeed.
It looks like the weather has a possibility of delaying our flights if things do not change. Interesting with the word that I got before our trip.  God did some amazing things tonight and touched many hearts.
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Devotion –
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Over and over, one can see men and women from the Bible being called to step out.  Peter stepped out of the boat literally.  In Acts, we see where Paul and His companion heal a man and the people want to sacrifice to them as gods.  Paul stops them and preaches to them and then ends up getting stoned to death.  God miraculously raises him from the dead, and he goes to the next town and does the same thing.  Paul was willing to step out and be obedient no matter what the results.  Succeed or fail, he was going to be obedient to share the good news.  Every time, God asks us to step out and be obedient, He is inviting us to step up into new levels with Him.
What about you?  Will you accept the invitation to step out and step up???
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Challenge –
Ask Holy Spirit for the courage to step out in full obedience to Him!  Ask Him to speak something challenging, and then step out and do it!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Stand Strong and Speak

Belize Day 3 –
Today was a little more relaxed as we gathered together in the morning.  We have four professional teams coming to play futbol, all under 13 yrs old. One team recently won an international championship. We started with some worship and games, and I spoke to them for about ten minutes.
 4 teams playing 4 games is an all day event.  We watched, ate, and cheered on the teams. Finally, at the end, we awarded them some medals, water bottles and other practical and candied items.
Our final event of the day was for the guys on the team to lead a men’s meeting and the women to lead a women’s meeting at two different churches.  About 40 men were gathered for the men’s meeting and we went for two and a half hours in worshipping, preaching and praying for people.
It was here that I met a man named Sebastian. I talked with him for a while and found out that he was a new believer, 10 days, he had been saved and here he was hungry to learn. He admitted readily that before, he had been to several of the surrounding countries dating beautiful women but had by the grace of God not gotten any diseases like HIV… I think there was a little bit more than dating going on.  As I sat and talked, it was good to see how God was moving and how I got to be a small part of the growth of this man in the kingdom. Just being here and encouraging him was an important part of why I came on this trip.
Devotion –
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Psalm 24:3-6 Who may ascend into the hill of the LordOr who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LordAnd righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face.
It is time for you to stand up in the Kingdom!!!  You stand to fight, to run, to act, and command authority.  You cannot sit by and let things return to the evil one, but you must stand and take back the Kingdom of God.
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Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
It is time for you to strengthen yourself in the Lord!!!  Without Him leading, guiding, and strengthening you, you will not be able to stand.  He is the most important part of anything you do, and everything flows out of your relationship with Him.  Spend time deepening and strengthening that relationship and you will truly be able to stand strong!!!
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Matthew 28:19-20 “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It is time for you to speak out!!!  Even if you are standing strong, if you do not speak out the truth of why and for Who you are standing, then you might as well be a tree or a statue.  It is good to stand strong but everyone around you needs to know the goodness and might of the Lord and the strength He has put in you.  He calls you to go and preach.  If you just go or just stand, you are the same as any other good ol’ boy.  However, when you speak out the Truth, this is what sets you apart from everyone else.  You have the love and truth of the Lord and this is why you must go out to share the love and truth that He has placed in you.
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Challenge –
Ask God to help you to stand, go, and fight today to build His Kingdom.  Strengthen yourself in Him by spending a little extra time with Him.  Thank Him for this strength of heart and ask Him to strengthen you more.  Today, speak out the truth and love that you have.  Share the good news in a small or great way by speaking forth the wonderful works of God and why you are who you are, not by your power or might, but by the Grace of God and His Spirit!!!
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Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

The Core Counts

Belize Day 2 – 
 
Arriving late at the base (Day 1) we were ushered into utter darkness.  We approached a bridge  and began to traverse it.  As we swayed in the breeze, we realized that this wooden bridge was actually a swinging bridge that spanned a chasm that the river ran through.
The middle of the bridge was probably 300 feet above the water and we could barely see from one side of the bridge to the other.  As we finally stepped off the bridge, we were greeted with a welcome to YWAM sign.
The next day, I would cross that bridge 9 times, and it was not all that scary after carrying guitars and cases of water across it, or watching a moto ride across it.
 Today, I was in charge of the church service at Evangel Temple.  I took a group of about 20 to minister to children and youth. We had the privilege of walking to this church.  The team did really well with Chelsea leading worship, Linda organizing, as well as several games and illustrations.  This service was a real picture of the Body of Christ.  It went well because everyone was doing their part and ministering and it touched the 50+ people that were there.  It seemed like we were there forever after the service making all kinds of balloon animals, but we got back to the base by 12:30.
During the afternoon, we had free time and finally led the evening church service at Jubilee.  We walked back in the dark, and I had the privilege of removing a bat from our bathroom.  Exhausted, I crashed ready to rest and prepare for the day to come.
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Devotion –
 
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment. 
 
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 
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During the children and youth service, I shared with them about how what really matters is the core of who you are.  If your core is strong, then the rest of your body will come into order.  A balloon filled with air is much different than one filled with water or rocks.  Increasing the strength of the core increases the strength of the object in question.
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In Mark 12:30, Jesus says the most important commandment is to love the Lord with everything you have starting with your heart.  Proverbs 4 talks about guarding your heart above all else because out of it flows the wellsprings of life.  Your heart is the most important part of you, and what you set your affection on determines your strength.
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 Today, think about your core, how is your relationship with God.  The stronger that bond, the deeper the intimacy, the more everything else will come into place.  Get your relationship growing with the Lord and you will begin to grow in every other area!!!
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Challenge –

Ask God to purify you and rid you of everything that keeps you from loving Him.
Commit to grow deeper with Him no matter what!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Boots on the Ground (Belize)

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Day 1 – Boots on the Ground
Gathering at DFW airport, the mission had already begun… or the attacks had, though I am sure everyone has had their fair share leading up to the trip.  A girl named Sarah did not have a consent form from her father.  This was her first mission trip, and she has dreams of being in medical missions, so it was a rocky start.  I waited with her and told her stories until her dad came back and narrowly missed the cutoff time.
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As we entered through security, this minor calamity averted, it was obvious that the enemy was trying to keep us all from coming to Belize.  However, we did not let fear or worry get in the way, but pressed in with faith.
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More complications when we arrived and getting our luggage through customs, but no big deal.  Here, I am in my element.  With this being my 28th foreign mission trip though I have never been in Belize, I was ready for the adventure once again!!!
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L.J and Sheldon transported us to the Belize sign after we had loaded our luggage and I was blessed with being in the van with a very nice luxury AC.  Probably the only time I will have it on this trip, but for half the team or more, this is their first mission trip, and I was glad to let them have the true cultural experience riding in the window-conditioned bus.  Belize has surprised me at the poverty level and run down appearance even near the airport.  It reminds me of Cambodia in many ways.  The air is muggy though the temperature is less hot than Texas.  It does not seem like it when you are constantly sweating.
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At the Belize Sign, I approached a man named Ashton.  I spoke with him a bit and invited him to take a picture with us.  He seemed to have other intentions when he hugged several of the attractive females, and I even had to pull him out of an embrace and ask him questions about himself to keep him focused on other things.  I ended up praying for him and asking God to show him his true family and His love.  Paul happened to be there and gave him a word about God restoring a broken relationship in his life.  Here it was, real-time ministry in Belize, and it was so easy.
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We left here and ate together at the Cheers restaurant where I was able to get to know Santie a little better.  Then we journeyed to the base and had an orientation before heading to bed… later than most wanted.  After taking a nice cold shower, I write this basking in the glory of the foreign mission, where I have been privileged to be once again.
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Devotion – Boots on the Ground
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Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come.Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 
 
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 
You are in a battle!!!  Every day of your life you are warring for the freedom of your soul.  Sometimes, you will be given the opportunity to fight for others as well.  As we travel to Belize, we are warring for an entire nation, souls to be prepared and revival to be harvested for the Kingdom.  Wherever you are, God is able to use you in a mighty way as long as you do not let the enemy make you back down.  Sarah did not give up but pressed in because she has a purpose on this trip. I stepped in to encourage where I could have passed by only looking out for myself.  Brothers and sisters, we are in this battle together and we cannot afford to leave anyone behind.
God is calling you to do great things for Him wherever you are.  When you obey, you are His boots on the ground.  It is up to you to take the fight to the enemy and forcefully advance the Kingdom of God.  The enemy will not stand by and do nothing, but you partnering with God makes a majority in any and every situation. Never back down from what God has called you to do and never settle for less than all He has for you.  You must stand for Him and do what’s right because so many people are counting on you!!!
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Challenge – Ask God to help you be His boots on the ground today. Now, step out and be obedient to what He tells you to do no matter how big, small, or silly it may seem.  Your obedience has the power to invite God into a situation so He can move in the greatest way possible.